One of the lovely things about the Midlands Women’s Convention last weekend was the opportunity to catch up with friends from around the region. I was able to have a good chat with another vicar’s wife from the Black Country who has been sharing with us the unusual experience of having Gone sleep under the garden hedge.
Mrs Very Benevolent and her husband live in another Sandwell town, just a few miles from here. She told me that Gone has been supplied with a sleeping bag by a local Food Bank and has camped out in their garden for the past few weeks. Another vicar nearby sometimes allows Gone to use his bathroom to spruce up. So he’s surviving. As usual.
Mrs VB is finding that Gone is alternately awful, abusive, threatening and foul and then repentant, sweet, thankful and charming. Same mix as ever. But the good news in all this is that the local police have decided that enough is enough and have demanded that the local housing office sort it out. Since Gone is without doubt the most vulnerable person I have ever met, I am thankful that at last some people in authority are taking responsibility.
My friend said that the first option will be to get him to Betel, although we all know that Gone struggles with trusting others, so the Betel community may not prove to be the best place. Whatever happens we are praying for a good solution for him. But at last there seem to be people in the ‘system’ watching out for Gone and there will be other options if Betel doesn’t work out. Keep on praying for him – we would love him to to feel secure in a home.